20 May 2009

Going Out with a Whimper

You could call this my anti-quote of the day. Michael Martin resigning as Speaker:

Since I came to this House thirty years ago I have always felt that the House is at its best when it is united [1]

A parliament only has any real purpose when it is disunited. The word parliament is derived from the French for a discussion and that is its whole purpose - thrashing out decisions by contrasting opposing viewpoints and having a battle of ideas. A parliament which is in total agreement on a subject adds nothing.

Martin seems to have completely misunderstood the public mood; so much of the contempt for the Commons is because of the seeming absence of dissenting voices when the expenses system was being exploited. There's a feeling that parliament was at its worse precisely because it was united.

1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_speaker_resigns.shtml

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